New Hampshire and the Birth of the Cocktail

New Hampshire is thought of as the birth place of many innovations, from tupperware to the motorcycle. But was it the cradle of the cocktail?

The first known published use of the word ‘cocktail’ in colonial America appears to have been in the April 28, 1803 edition of The Farmer’s Cabinet, published by Joseph Cushing in Amherst, New Hampshire.  Amherst at that time was the seat of Hillsborough County government, and a frequent meeting place for politicians and influential people.

On page two, of the above mentioned newspaper is an intriguing article–a fanciful journal entry–written surely with tongue in cheek.  The individual, probably male (smoked half a cigar), speaks of imbibing several drinks including coffee, wine, and a cocktail!  No mention of the ingredients is made, but it was taken at 11:00 AM.This could have been taken as a medicinal cocktail.

The PARTIAL transcription is just below:
The Farmer’s Cabinet, Published by Joseph Cushing, Amherst, New Hampshire
Thursday, April 28, 1803, Vol. I., No. 25, Page 2
FRIDAY.–Waked at 7 by the bell–wonder what people mean by disturbing one so early after an Assembly; turn’d and doz’d ’till 9: got up, and dressed–felt queer; took a cup of coffee–no appetite.–10. Lounged to the Doctor’s–found Peter–talked of the girls–smoked half a cigar–felt rather squally: Van Hogan came in–quiz’d me for looking dull–great bore.–11. Drank a glass of cocktail–excellent for the head; all sauntered away to see the girls: Miss–not up: Went to the Squire’s–girls just done breakfast.   Mem. Girls no so bright after dancing.  Talked of the weather–then of the walking–then of the weather again–was very witty–Peter not quite so brilliant.  Went to the Col’s. found the girls very lively and sociable–drank a glass of wine–talked about Indians–call’d Miss–a Squaw–all laugh’d–damn’d good one–talked about the walking–insisted that the more muddy it was, the better walking–all look’d queer: nothing else to say–jogg’d off.  Call’d at the Doct’s. [drinking a cocktail is mentioned again in the article later].

By 1862 the cocktail was a popular drink, and considered ‘a modern invention..generally used on fishing and other sporting parties…” Cocktails were made with brandy, whiskey, champagne, gin, and even cider (I will assume the ‘hard’ sort). As is common today, bitters and lemon peel were frequently added to complement the drink.

It is probable that the cocktail did not actually originate in New Hampshire. There are a plethora of suggestions on the origin of the word itself, all speculative.  From this list I have formed my own opinion.  In an encyclopedia of rural sports from 1840 comes the description of cocktails, as “horses which appear as racers, but are understood not to be thorough-bred” and rather of mixed ancestry.  In that a cocktail is often experimental regarding ingredients, and at least in 1862 was popular at sporting events, it would seem clear there is more than a coincidental relationship.


Information from various sources including: FROM: The Genealogy of the Cushing Family, by Lemuel Cushing, M.A., B.C.L., Montreal: Lovell Printing and Publishing Company. 1877

Peter Cushing, the 6th son of Thomas Cushing was born 28 July 1562 in Hardingham, Norfolk, England. He married Susan Hawes 2 June 1585. He was buried at Hingham MA 2 March 1615. His wife died in 1641.
Children of Peter & Susan (Hawes) Cushing:
1. Theophilus Cushing, b. 1579, who came to New England in 1633 in the ship Griffin in company with Gov. Haynes, and Puritan ministers, Cotton and Hooker, and 200 others. He resided on the Haynes farm, and finally settled in Hingham MA. He was blind for 25 years before his death on 24 March 1678
2. Bridget Cushing, bapt 19 Feb 1586. Married 15 July 1627 George More.
3. +Matthew Cushing, baptized 2 March 1589
4. William Cushing, bapt 1 April 1593
5. Barbara Cushing, bapt 16 June 1596, d. Jan 1632
6. Peter Cushing of London. His will is dated 1663
7. Katharine Cushing
8. Thomas Cushing of London, baptized 15 May 1603. His will was dated 1669.

Matthew Cushing, third child of Peter and Susan Hawes Cushing was baptized 2 march 1589. He married 5 August 1613 to Nazareth, daughter of Henry Pitcher, with hom and his children, and his wife’s sister (Widow Frances Riecroft, who died a few weeks after their arrival) embarked in the ship Diligent of Ipswich, 350 tons, John Martin, master, which sailed from Gravesend, 26 Apr 1638, with 133 passengers, among whom was Robert Peck, M.A. Rector of the Parish of Hingham, England, entered on the list of passengers as “teacher.” and arrived at Boston, MA 10 August 1638. he and his fellow-passengers the same year commenced the settlement of Hingham, MA, after the former home of the Cushing family in England. At a town meeting held 1638 a house lot of 5 acres was given to him.  He became a deacon of Peter Hobart’s church and died 30 September 1660, ae 72 leaving a will. His wife died 1 Jan 1681, ae 96.
Children of Matthew & Nazareth (Pitcher) Cushing:
1. +Daniel Cushing, baptized 20 April 1619
2. Jeremiah Cushing, baptized 21 July 1621. Became a mariner of Boston MA and was lost at sea. He married 11 March 1662, Elizabeth, widow of John Wilkie. In her will she makes mention of her daughter Elizabeth Condy, grandson Jeremiah Condy and sister Martha Muzer, in Redrif, near London.
3. Matthew Cushing, (styled “Lieutenant) baptized 5 April 1623. Married 25 Feb 1653 Sarah Jacob, dau of Nicholas Jacob and d. 9 Jan 1701 without issue.
4. Deborah Cushing, bapt 17 Feb 1625; m. 9 May 1648 to Matthew Bridgges (Rev. Peter Hobart’s Journal) or Matthias Briggs (Dean’s Hist. of Scituate)
5. John Cushing, b. 1627

Daniel Cushing, son of Matthew and Nazareth (Pitcher) Cushing, was baptized 20 April 1619. He married 1st) 19 June 1645 to Lydia Gilman, daughter of Edward Gilman. She died 12 March 1689, and he married 2nd) 23 March 1691, to Elizabeth, widow of John Thaxter, and daughter of Nicholas Jacob.  She died 24 Nov 1725, ae 92 surviving her hsuband twenty-five years. He died 3 December 1699, ae 81.  He left a will, dated 11 Sept 1693, a copye of which may be found in the NEHGS Register, vol xiv, p. 293.  A lot of land was granted to him by the Town of Hingham (MA) in 1665. He became a Freeman in 1671, was an active magistrate, and for many years town clerk of Hingham. In the years 1681, 1682 and 1695 he was representative to the General Court.
Children of Daniel & Lydia C. (Gilman) Cushing:
1. Peter Cushing, b. 1646, bapt 29 March 1646 by the Rev. Peter Hobart
2. Daniel Cushing, b. 13 July 1648
3. Deborah Cushing, b. 28 Nov 1651. She married 25 Sep 1769 Henry Tarleton.  She married 2d) 31 Aug 1686 Rev. Benjamin Woodbridge of Bristol.
4. Jeremiah Cushing, b. 3 July 1654, Hingham Records (3 May 1654 Boston records)
5. +Theophilus Cushing, b. 17 June 1657 (Hingham Records); or (29 March 1657 Boston records)
6. Matthew Cushing, b. 15 July 1669

Theophilus Cushing, son of Daniel and Lydia C. (Gilman) Cushing, was born 17 June 1657 in Hingham MA.  He married 7 Dec 1689, Mary Thaxter, daughter of John Thaxter. His will was made in 1718. He died 7 Jan 1717, ae 60. His widow died 1737, ae 70. He was a minister of the First Church of Scituate MA, ordained in 1691. He was a farmer, selectman, and representative.
Children of Theophilus & Mary (Thaxter) Cushing:
1. Nehemiah Cushing, b. 18 July 1690. married 19 March 1711 Sarah Nichols
2. Mary Cushing, b. 9 February 1691, d. 8 Aug 1699 Boston MA
3. Adam Cushing, b. 1 january 1693
4. David Cushing, b. 2 November 1694; m. 14 May 1718 Rachel Lewis. Died 3 December 1723. Children: Rachel, Alice, Hannah
5. +Abel Cushing, b. 24 October 1696
6. Rachel Cushing, b. 17 Aug 1698, d. 9 Sep 1699
7. Mary Cushing, b. 26 Sep 1701, d. 20 Aug 1716
8. Theophilus Cushing, b. 16 June 1703
9. Seth Cushing, b. 13 Dec 1705; m. Lydia Fearing 1 jan 1729; d. 17 May 1761

Abel Cushing, son of Theophilus and Mary (Thaxter) Cushing, was born 24 Oct 1696 in Hingham MA;  “Captain”; he married 24 November 1720 to Mary Allen Jacob, dau of Peter & Hannah (Allen) Jacob.  She b. 29 Sep 1698 in Hingham MA and d. 1737.  His will is dated 1723. He died 20 May 1750, ae 54.
Children of Abel & Mary (Jacob) Cushing:
1. Mary Cushing, b. 12 Aug 1722; d. 12 Oct 1726
2. David Cushing, b. 12 July 1724, d. 7 Oct 1726
3. +David Cushing, b. 7 September 1727
4. Abel Cushing, b. 26 January 1730, d. 1761
5. Mary Cushing, b. 28 January 1732
6. Laban Cushing, b. 21 February 1734, d. 1760 without issue
7. Lydia Cushing, b. 23 April 1738, d. 18 May 1747
8. Abigail Cushing, b. 14 June 1741

David Cushing, son of Abel and Mary (Jacob) Cushing, was born 7 September 1727 in Hingham MA; “Colonel”; He married first, 9 April 1752, Ruth Lincoln, daugther of Samuel & Ruth (Cushing) Lincoln. She was aborn 25 Feb 1773 and died 6 July 1761 in Hingham MA.  He married second, 23 Jan 1763 in Hingham MA to Mabel Gardner, daughter of Hosea & Mary (Whiton) Gardner, born 6 Jan 1739 and who d. 14 Aug 1798 in Hingham MA.  He died 15 Feb 1800, ae 75.
Children of David & Ruth (Lincoln) Cushing:
1. Ruth Cushing, b. 1 Nov 1752; m. Perez Cushing
2. +David Cushing, b. 2 July 1754
3. Molly Cushing, b. 26 September 1756
4. Jonathan Cushing, b. 13 April 1759
5. Lydia Cushing, b. 2 June 1761
Children of David & Mabel (Gardner) Cushing:
6. Abel Cushing, b. 22 October 1763
7. Hosea Cushing, b. 29 May 1765
8. Charles W. Cushing, b. 7 November 1766
9. George Russell Cushing, b. 24 April 1768
10. Nancy Cushing, b. 10 March 1770
11. Jane Cushing, b. 3 April 1772; m. 6 Nov 1796 Samuel Dwelly
12. Lucy Cushing, b. 18 October 1773; m. 24 May 1798 David Lewis
13. Christiana Cushing, b. 14 March 1775; d. 1 July 1821
14. Elnathan Cushing, b. 30 April 1777
15. Jerusha Cushing, b. 13 Feb 1779
16. Josiah Cushing, b. 9 April 1781
17, Mabel Cushing, b. 6 March 1783

David Cushing, son of David and Ruth (Lincoln) Cushing, born 2 July 1754 in Hingham MA; He died 1827; “Captain”; He married 17 Oct 1779, Hannah Cushing, daughter of Joseph and Sarah (Leavitt) Cushing and granddaughter of Solomon and Sarah (Loring) Cushing, and great-granddaughter of Matthew and Jael Cushing. She was born 26 April 1760 in Hingham MA.  He moved from Hingham to Ashburnham MA in 1798. He was an inn-holder, tanner and farmer, an active citizen.
Children of David & Hannah (Cushing) Cushing: (all born in Hingham MA except last born in Ashburnham MA)
1. +Joseph Cushing, b. 23 Jan 1781
2. Hannah Cushing, b. 9 June 1783; m. Silas Whitney
3. David Cushing, b. 7 Nov 1785; removed to Walpole MA; m. Polly Adams
4. Susanna Cushing, b. 25 March 1788; m. Joseph Jewett
5. Laban Cushing, b. 29 April 1791; moved to Ashburnham MA
6. Deborah Cushing, b. 6 Sep 1793; m. Josiah Fletcher
7. Moses Cushing, b. 20 March 1796; moved to Catharines (now Havana), Schuyler Co. NY; m. Gertrude Polley.

Joseph Cushing, son of David and Hannah (Cushing) Cushing, was b. 23 January 1781.  He married 1 Nov 1804 in Boston MA to Rebecca Edmands, dau of John & Anne David (SHepherd) Edmands of Charlestown MA. She b. 3 Apr 1782 in Boston MA and d. 19 Dec 1836 in Baltimore MD. He was a printer in Boston MA, removing to Amherst NH where he printed The Village Messenger which had succeeded the Amherst Journal and the new Hampshire Advertiser. On 11 November 1802 he established the newspaper “The Farmer’s Cabinet” which he eventually sold in 1809 to Richard Boylston. While Joseph Cushing was owner, one of his apprentices was Isaac Hill (who later moved to Concord purchasing his own newspaper and later became Governor of New Hampshire). He moved to Baltimore MD about 1808 where he was a bookseller, and served in the state legislature and in the city government. He helped establish the first public school, and also the Savings Bank of Baltimore, where he was President for 25 years.  He died in Baltimore MD in 1852, age 71.
Children of Joseph & Rebecca (Edmands) Cushing:
1. Rebecca Cushing, b. 12 Oct 1805 in Amherst NH; m. Hon. J. Wiley Edmund of Boston MA
2. Joseph Cushing, b. 11 Dec 1806 in Amherst NH, m. 1832 Ann Mackenzie. She d. 1853. Had children: Sarah Pinkerton, Joseph MacKenzie, Ann, and Wiley Edmands
3. John Cushing, b. 29 Aug 1808 Amherst NH; m. 14 Oct 1830 to Frances Cromwell.  She d. 13 March 1865.  Children: Joseph, Rebecca Edmands, Elizabeth Waters, John, Frances, Henry Miller, Richard Cromwell, Francis Cromwell
5. David Cushing, b. 30 Aug 1811 Boston MA; m. 11 Dec 1834 to Catherine Jane McClellan, d. 26 Aug 1875.  Children: Robert Henry, Rebecca Edmands, Janet Mary, David, Joseph Edmands, Kate, Sarah Frances, Elizabeth Edmands
5. Mary Cushing, b. 25 Aug 1816 in Boston MA; m. Erastus Edgerton and d. without issue
6. Sarah Cushing, b. bef 1818 in Boston MA; m. William H. Calwell of Baltimore MD
7. Elizabeth Rebecca Cushing, b 14 Sep 1818 in Baltimore MD m. W.F. Sloan of Baltimore MD

New Hampshire Newspaper: “The Farmer’s Cabinet” & The Boylston Family”

The Joseph Cushing House, Amherst NH

Engraving above from:  page 3; “How to mix drinks: or, The bon-vivant’s companion,” by Jerry Thomas, New York, Dick & Fitzgerald, Publishers, No. 18 Ann Street; 1862
page 49

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